Schuylkill Navy’s Erik Frid Prepares for World Rowing Cup III

 

From My Seat: A report on training for the 2017 World Rowing Cup III by Schuylkill Navy rower Erik Frid.

World Rowing Cup III in Lucerne, Switzerland has been on the Schuylkill Navy High-Performance Group Men’s calendar for over a year now. I remember after the racing finished at Henley last year Coach Sean Hall mentioned his ambitions to be back in Europe to race in Lucerne this summer. For the men’s quadruple sculls and Luke and I in the double sculls, World Cup III will be our first senior international racing experience. Now, with entries out it feels more real than ever.

Seeing that our last race at Speed Order II was six boats from Philadelphia, getting some legitimate race experience before Lucerne was a must. Holland Beker served as the first taste of senior international speed. For Luke and I, the event provided us four 2k’s down a FISA course, against developmental and senior boats from across Europe. The quad raced twice.

My biggest disappointment racing at the 2014 World Rowing Under 23 Championships was that my doubles partner and I didn’t fall into our true form until the third race. Internationally, the stakes are such that there’s no room not to be performing right away in the heats. If there are going to be jitters, getting them out early is important.

Approaching departure for Europe, Luke and I were confident about our speed in training sessions. As we quickly found out, a lot can happen in between our last practice on the Schuylkill River and our first practice in Europe. Between jetlag, rowing in a different boat, and adjusting to a different lifestyle in a foreign country, a lot of distractions can affect boat speed. All along, Holland Beker was meant to be a tune-up race after coming off the plane. Four 2k’s in one weekend is great work and provides an opportunity to take risks in racing and learn a lot about our boat when under pressure.

Entering the race, our consensus was that we were going to perform despite external factors. Holland Beker was a real kick in the butt. With 5th and 4th place finishes in Saturday and Sunday’s finals, respectively, both Luke and I were disappointed in our performance. While the quad seemed to pull it together better than we did, both boats look to put out a lot more speed come race time.

Despite the setback, we are not deterred. If there’s one thing that I learned from playing Hugo Peabody in an 8th-grade production of Bye, Bye Birdy it’s that the dress rehearsal before the performance will not go well. Quickly identifying what isn’t properly executed is crucial to making sure the main performance is a success. I believe that good performance is reliant on a desire to achieve full potential. With only days until racing, mine and Luke’s goal is to push our way back to that potential.

Falling back into a training rhythm in Munich before departing for Lucerne has been refreshing and much-needed to tune back into the boat. The course we’re training on was the site of the 1972 Olympics. The eight-lane by two-kilometer stretch is one of the coolest courses I’ve been on. All the way down the turquoise waters you can see the bottom clearly, and every once in a while, you’re surprised by a large carp swimming by. With Luke and me in the double, the men’s quad, a lightweight women’s quad and men’s single we have a full Philadelphia squad. It might as well be another day on the Schuylkill, except some mornings we have the water to ourselves.

With no consequences at World Cup III towards selection for World Championships in Sarasota, Fla., any success in Lucerne would be purely symbolic. That said, the stakes are high, and World Cup III serves as another notch in the belt as the Schuylkill Navy works towards Trials, World Championships, and ultimately creating Olympic-caliber boats. When we departed for this trip, it felt like a culmination of the past year’s work. I’m beginning to realize that this trip is another starting point.

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